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Column: Changing perspective

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Have you ever met anyone who turned a perspective you had in life upside down?

When I was a teenager, my parents took me to hear a man speak by the name of Richard Wurmbrand. This Jewish Romanian minister born in the early 1900s was old and quite crippled. Not exactly exciting for a teenager.

When we walked in, I was astonished to find the room packed. The event began with a lengthy introduction of all this guy’s accomplishments. No music, no flashing lights, no smoke, no video projectors — nothing except a microphone. After the first old guy finished introducing the second old guy, he stood up with assistance and slowly limped over to a deep-seated armchair on the stage. After he situated himself he started to speak — slowly.

He shared about growing up in an anti-Semitic Romania and ultimately becoming a Christian. His life was a laundry list of sacrifice because of his beliefs. He had been imprisoned for spreading the Gospel and went through horrific psychological and physical torture. The Communists even told his wife that he had died in prison when he hadn’t. In 1966, he testified in Washington D.C., revealing his physical scars that brought much of what was happening in the dark to light. The unforgettable part to me was his peace. Yep, you read that right. His peace. His testimony wasn’t delivered from a dark heart, but one of hope!

It’s hard for me to explain, but he seemed happier and more fulfilled than any of my high school friends who drove new cars, partied on the weekend and lived off mom and dad’s hard work. Theoretically my friends lived the good life. Why was this guy so much more fulfilled? This old man threw my perspective of peace and joy on its head. His life fulfillment wasn’t dependent on external circumstances. As he shared I realized his peace isn’t in what is, but in his hope of what will be.

Do you have a hope this strong?


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